Two Russians, American reach space station

In the midst of blazing tensions between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine, two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut launched Friday and docked with the International Space Station.

Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara launched the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft earlier on Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Three hours later, the crew docked with the ISS, according to the Russian space agency.

The four will join three Russians, two Americans, a Japanese astronaut, and a representative of the European Space Agency at the orbiting station.

Following the failure of Russia’s first lunar mission in nearly 50 years last month, the liftoff occurred.

The International Space Station (ISS) offers a unique setting for cooperation between the United States and Russia, whose relations soured last year after Moscow launched its war in Ukraine.

At a pre-flight press briefing on Thursday, Kononenko made reference to the conflicts by noting that, “unlike on Earth,” cosmonauts and astronauts looked out for one another in space.

“We hear each other there, and we understand each other, and we are very sensitive to our relationships,” he said. “We always take care of each other.”

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